Country Profile - Luxembourg

Relevant legislation

Asylum Proceedings

  1. Dublin
  2. Accelerated Procedure
  3. Normal Procedure

Appeal Proceedings





Relevant legislation

In the area of asylum law, the most important acts are as follows:

Règlement grand-ducal du 21 décembre 2007 fixant une liste de pays d'origine sûrs au sens de la loi modifiée du 5 mai 2006 relative au droit d'asile et à des formes complémentaires de protection

Loi du 29 août 2008 portant sur la libre circulation des personnes et l’immigration

Règlement grand-ducal du 8 juin 2012 fixant les conditions et les modalités d’octroi d’une aide sociale aux demandeurs de protection internationale

Loi du 18 décembre 2015 relative à la protection internationale et à la protection temporaire

Loi du 18 décembre 2015 relative à l’accueil des demandeurs de protection internationale

Asylum Proceedings

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, more specifically the Directorate of Immigration, is responsible for registering, processing and deciding on applications for international protection in Luxembourg. Applications for international protection are, therefore, filed with the Directorate of Immigration. The applicant must provide identification (namely finger prints and, where applicable, a passport) and other relevant documentation. A judicial police officer then determines the applicant’s country of origin and itinerary. The applicant then obtains the "pink paper", which allows the individual to stay in Luxembourg during the application process. The "pink paper" does not allow the applicant to leave Luxembourg or to work (whilst the law does provide for a procedure that would allow a pink paper holder to work in Luxembourg pending the determination of his asylum application, the conditions for this to work in practice are very strict and thus asylum applicants can rarely benefit from it).

The applicant will then be summoned to the Directorate of Immigration for a detailed interview on the reasons for their asylum application. Language and medical tests may be ordered in case of doubt. This usually takes place four to five months after the verification of the individual’s identity (the time is considerably reduced where the applicant is subject to an accelerated procedure, however. See below for further details).

During the interview, a written report is completed which the applicant is requested to sign. The applicant has the right to amend the report by adding information or giving more details before signing. The applicant can also refuse to sign the report if they are not in agreement as to what has been written. The applicant may be assisted by a lawyer during the interview.

There are three procedural options that the Directorate of Immigration may take when assessing the applicant’s asylum claim:

1. Dublin

The Directorate of Immigration will assess whether Luxembourg is responsible for the applicant’s claim. If Luxembourg is not responsible for the claim, a transfer request will be sent to the responsible State under the Dublin III Regulation. The applicant may also be given a decision assigning him to SHUK, which is in Hall 6 of Luxexpo and principally accommodates persons who are subject to a Dublin transfer decision. Alternatively the applicant may be given a detention order. The transfer decision, the SHUK decision and the detention decision can be appealed by the applicant (see below).

2. Accelerated

According to Article 27(1) of the Loi du 18 décembre 2015 relative à la protection internationale et à la protection temporaire, the Directorate can assess an individual’s asylum application in an accelerated procedure. The grounds for an accelerated procedure correspond with Article 31(8) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, including, for example, where the applicant comes from a safe country of origin as per the Règlement grand-ducal du 21 décembre 2007 fixant une liste de pays d'origine sûrs. For cases which are processed within the accelerated procedure, Article 27(2) of the 18 December 2015 Law specifies that a decision is made by the Directorate within at least two months from the moment that the accelerated procedure applies. According to the Directorate’s 2017 annual report, however, the time limits are far shorter. After an application is lodged by the applicant, he or she is invited to an interview four days later. Following on from the interview the Directorate decides whether the applicant’s application should be processed in the normal procedure or the accelerated one. Where the latter applies the applicant is notified of a decision after 6 days. Additionally, in 2017, an ultra-accelerated procedure has been established in Luxembourg for persons originating from safe countries of origin.

3. Normal

If the application for international protection is found admissible by the Directorate of Immigration, the person concerned should, in principle, receive a response on the applicant within six months. However, exceptions are commonplace. The processing time may not exceed a total of 21 months. If no response is given within six months the applicant will receive a letter reporting the delay and the applicant can ask the authorities the reasons for the delay.

As regards to the right to asylum, Luxembourg recognises two international protection statutes:

  • refugee status, which lasts for 5 years and is renewable;
  • subsidiary protection status, which lasts from one year to five years and is renewable.

If either one of these statuses are granted the applicant is given a residence document, a travel document and an authorisation to work. Beneficiaries of international protection will have access to social benefits, housing, education and health services to the same extent as Luxembourgish nationals.

Appeal Proceedings

1. Dublin

A transfer decision can be appealed to the Administrative Tribunal within 15 days however the appeal does not have a suspensive effect on the transfer decision. A separate request to stay the execution of the transfer decision will have to be made by the applicant to the President of the Administrative Tribunal. The Tribunal has two months to provide its decision from the moment that the appeal has been lodged. There are situations in which the person is transferred notwithstanding that the Court has yet to take a decision on the suspensive effect of the transfer decision. A decision placing the applicant in the SHUK can also be appealed to the Administrative Tribunal within three months. The same appeal time limits apply for the placement of an applicant in detention. Where the applicant is placed in detention the Administrative Tribunal must provide its decision on the appeal against the transfer decision within one month.

2. Accelerated

 If a decision refusing the asylum application is given within the accelerated procedure, three decisions will be given. The first rejecting the merits of the application for international protection in the framework of an accelerated procedure, the second, refusing the application for international protection taken within this framework, the third, an order to leave the territory. One single appeal can be made against these three decisions and the appeal must be made within 15 days of the applicant being notified of the decisions. The Tribunal provides its decision on the appeal within one month of the appeal being lodged. If the Tribunal rejects the appeal a further appeal can be taken to the Administrative Court. This further appeal must be lodged within one month from the notification by the Registry of the first unsuccessful appeal. Both appeals have suspensive effect on the order to leave the territory.

3. Normal

Where a decision to refuse the application is given within the normal procedure the applicant is also given an order to leave the territory. A single appeal can be introduced against both of those decisions before the Administrative Tribunal within one month of the applicant being notified of the decisions. As in the accelerated procedure, a further appeal can be made to the Administrative Court within one month. Both appeals have suspensive effect on the order to leave the territory.

Under Article 17 of the law of 18 December 2015, free legal assistance is provided to the applicant throughout the first instance procedure, including at the interview. At appeal the applicant has the right to be represented by a lawyer and this includes an appeal against a decision to place the applicant in detention.


Upon their arrival, applicants for international protection usually present themselves at Logopédie, where the very first reception takes place. From there, they are directed to the Immigration Directorate to file their application. Once they have applied for asylum, the ‘Office luxembourgeois de l’accueil et de l’intégration’ (‘OLAI’) are responsible for the applicants reception, material conditions, and administrative aid. OLAI is also responsible for applicants’ social, psychological and medical care. The applicant will therefore meet with a social worker from OLAI who explains his or her rights and obligations during his or her stay in Luxembourg.

Applicants are sent to a second-line reception structure: Mersch Creos. After a few weeks, they will be transferred to a third-line structure.

There are approximately 70 reception structures in Luxembourg. Some are managed by OLAI and others by the Luxembourgish Red Cross and Caritas. Approximately 4000 beds are available in Luxembourg, half of which are within the first reception structure. 

Every asylum applicant is subject to a medical examination at the medico-social centre. There are also tailored reception structures for persons who have specific needs. For example the Eich Red Cross building which accommodates, as a priority, persons with specific needs such as physical or psychological needs, single parents whose children have learning difficulties and unaccompanied minors.

In terms of the material reception conditions which are provided to applicants, they are given accommodation, either full board meals or prepared meals, and a monthly allowance of 26.27 euros for an adult, 26.27 euros for an unaccompanied minor or 13.13 euros for a minor. If the applicant is accommodated in a reception centre without meals then the monthly allowance is 205 euros for an adult, 205 euros for an unaccompanied minor and 179.37 euros for a minor. Clothes and hygienic products are given to applicants and medical care, school fees and public transport are covered by OLAI.  


Article 22(2) of the law of 18 December 2015 reflects the detention grounds under Article 8(3) of the recast Reception Conditions Directive for asylum applicants. The Luxembourgish legislation does not, however, include the detention ground of deciding, in the context of a procedure, on the applicant’s right to enter the territory (Article 8(3)(c) of the recast Reception Conditions Directive).  The decision to detain can only be given after an individual consideration, where it appears necessary and only if other less coercive measures cannot be effectively applied. Less coercive measures are listed in Article 22(3) of the law of 18 December 2015 as regular reporting to the authorities, the deposit of a financial guarantee (5,000 euros), or an obligation to stay at an assigned place, which if necessary, can be combined with electronic tagging.

A detention centre for the purposes of return has, since April 2017, also been established in Hall 6 of the Luxexpo, SHUK.


In 2017 the Immigration Directorate's Refugee Service registered 2,322 applications, compared to 2,035 in 2016 and 2,447 in 2015. As far as countries of origin are concerned, Syria remains the leading country with 368 applicants (15.8%). In second place is Eritrea with 224 applicants (9.6%), followed by Morocco with 205 applicants (8.8%), Serbia (190;8.2%) and Algeria (169;7.3%). 1,152 persons were granted refugee status (compared to 764 in 2016 and 200 in 2015) and 54 persons were granted subsidiary protection status (compared to 26 persons in 2016 and 28 persons in 2015).

1,152 persons were granted refugee status (compared to 764 in 2016 and 200 in 2015) 54 persons were granted subsidiary protection status (compared to 26 in 2016 and 28 in 2015). 463 out of the 1,152 persons who received refugee status were Syrian, followed by Iraqis (340) and Afghans (166). A total of 526 refusal decisions were taken, including 205 refusals in the normal procedure and 321 refusals under an accelerated procedure. Of the 321 refusals under the accelerated procedure, 169 refusals were made under the ultra-accelerated procedure.


EDAL would like to thank Passserell a.s.b.l. for their input into this Country Profile. 

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